Local volunteers are reaching out to the community for some much-needed relief.
The ’s cat room is at capacity and has been for some time now. There is room for approximately 30 cages, according to long-time volunteer and member of Mansfield Shelter Friends, Inc., Mary Andrews.
“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had up to 29 cats plus kittens,” said Andrews in an email.
The kittens can be housed in one of two playrooms as long as they are close in age. That reduces the number of cages needed but even with the kittens in the playroom the shelter is at capacity. There are currently four kittens and more will be coming in on Saturday.
Andrews attributes this increased population to the current economic state and the fact that we are in the midst of kitten season.
“Our current population is more than we’ve had at least in the past six years,” explained Andrews. “Many of the recent surrenders resulted from the financial climate. People have been leaving their housing, sometimes to move in with relatives, and they often can’t take pets with them.”
The new shelter has increased the capacity by about 10 cats but they have been maxed out for a couple of months. Volunteers have been forced to turn people away when they ask to surrender a cat.
The shelter also has approximately 13 cats that were left homeless after their owner was displaced by a house fire in February. They stay together in the larger of the two playrooms.
“(The) cats add easily an hour’s worth of work on each shift for the volunteers to clean the room and feed and medicate the cats,” said Andrews.
These cats are not included in the occupancy figures but volunteers still care for them. If and when the cats leave, it would free up the playroom, reducing the number of cages.
The high population is even becoming harmful to the cats.
“Volunteers have less time to spend giving attention to each cat because there are so many,” said Andrews. “The cats are stressed out because of that and because they have less time out of their cages. As a result of the stress, several cats have developed upper respiratory problems.”
Andrews and all of the Mansfield Animal Shelter volunteers are encouraging people to help by adopting their adult cats to alleviate the stress that has come with reaching capacity. They also hope that people will consider alternatives to surrendering their cats. Most of all, they want a good life for the animals.
“Even though we have a wonderful new shelter that is so much better than the old one,” said Andrews, “living in a cage month after month is not a good existence for a cat. And the more cats we have, the longer most of them will have to wait at the shelter before getting adopted.”
Volunteers are always pleased with donations of all kinds but they are asking the community to step up and help better these cats’ lives by giving them a home. For more information on current cats available for adoption at the shelter, check out Mansfield Patch's
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